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The Quran and science series for children

The empire of the bees

Assalamualaikum wa rehmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
dear readers,
This book inshallah will be an amazing journey which our
friend nahli will guide us through
and inshallah, we will be able to learn, ponder and wonder about this
unique creation of Allah ," the bees".Allah subhanawatala has made sure
that his creation is marvellous enough to attract our attention so that we
look , observe and then increase our faith that the god who created us ,
the bees and everything else is one and he is Allah subhanawatala , the
best to create.
Assalamualaikum wa rehmatullahi wa barakatuhu, I mean, may the
peace,mercy and blessings of Allah subhanawatala be on you. my name is
nahli,I'm the bee who will guide you inshallah. scientists call me apis
cerana as I live in asia while they refer my cousins staying in u.s.a and
europe as apis mellifera,u can call me nahli.inshallah I'll be your friend and
guide for our journey and take you to my home" The bee hive".Our home
and factory are the same as we are always working .
Let me first proudly tell you that our creator Allah
subhanawatala has named a whole lesson after us!! yes! surah Nahl surah
number 16. Nahl in arabic means the bees.

Allah mentions about how he taught and guided us to make our homes and
create honey in ayah number 68 and 69 of surah Nahl.

(68. And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: "Take you habitations in the mountains
and in the trees and in what they (humans) erect.'') (69. "Then, eat of all fruits, and
follow the routes that your Lord made easy (for you).'' There comes forth from their
bellies, a drink of varying colors, in which there is a cure for men. There is indeed a
sign in that for people who reflect.)
Alhamdulillah , this is indeed a great skill which Allah taught us . we are
guided by Allah to make our homes in far off hills and mountains, tall
trees and also in buildings made by all you humans. Mashallah !you build
well too but we see you using a lot of machinery for that ,whereas we have
been taught to build without any tools for construction or measurement,
also jazakallahukhairan (may Allah reward you with goodness),thank you so
very much for providing artificial homes for us which are made
of wood,mud,straw and clay , we are happy to serve you with our honey
and also by pollinating your farms.May Allah reward us both for our
constructive work.
well , come along! let me take you to our home cum factory "the bee hive!"


Our bee hives are magnificent structures, we build our houses mainly for
protecting ourselves,the internal structure of our beehive is very
complicated , it is a densely packed matrix of hexagonal cells made of
beeswax,you humans build your walls usually with bricks and cement but
we bees use beeswax.A group of such hexagonal cells is known as a
honeycomb.We use these cells for storing honey,pollen and also it serves

as a playschool for our baby bees, for we use these cells to house the
brood .Our beehives usually have one entrance , honey is stored in the
upper part of the comb, beneath it are the pollen storage cells, the
worker brood cells i.e. where the babies who are going to become female
worker bees stay and below it are the drone brood cells i.e. where the
babies who will become the male drone bees live.


we bees are eusocial insects as we have specific responsibilities in our
community and we all help eachother in caring for our children . Unlike
human families who may have few members and who do their work
according to their wishes , we have many members in our family in the
beehive and everyone is guided by Allah to do their duty,we cant be lazy
even for a day.The members in the bee hive are very similar to the
communities of other insects like termites,ants and wasps.

three phenotypic forms:

Our honey bee community has three structurally different forms,
1.THE QUEEN (sexually reproductive female)
2.THE WORKER BEE(non-reproductive female)
3.THE DRONE (male)
let me first tell you about our QUEEN:
The Queen is the mother of all drones,workers and future
queens.Subhanallah! we have great esteem for her,like you humans have
for your mother.Allah subhanawatala wants us to realise the sacrifices of
our parents and be dutiful to them as he said in surah al isra(17:2324).our queen carries out the tough task of laying more than 1500 eggs
everyday!!and that is the only work she does all day!lay eggs,lay eggs,lay
these eggs are very heavy,they are as heavy as her!! the queen has a long
body and a large abdomen with which u can identify her.No other member

in the colony can lay eggs except her.the eggs are placed in the wax cells
made the worker bees.
Our queen is better than us in self defence for she can sting the enemy
without harming herself as she has a curved stinger unlike the worker
bees stinger which is straight and barbed because of which we ,the
worker bees die after stinging the enemy !! since our stinger gets stuck in
the enemies body and we strip off our organs in trying to break free, may
Allah protect us.
the queen can feed herself but still,the nearest worker bees are inspired
by Allah to feed her, because the queen's food is actually made inside the
worker bees mouth! subhanallah! just look how Allah has created us!every
creation of Allah has its special qualities...its so silly that some humans
dont even believe in god, every creation is designed,beautified and
maintained so well by Allah...who can organize this except Allah?
subhanallah!how perfect is Allah.well, our queen never has to worry about
getting hungry as long as she is in the hive, the worker bees lick her body
and feed her by regurgitating a special liquid from their salivary glands
called "ROYAL JELLY".the babies or larvae of the queen are also fed with
this yummy royal jelly but there is something to note here, the larvae
which are meant to become worker bees are fed on royal jelly only for
two days whereas the lucky baby which would become the future queen is
fed on royal jelly through out her life mashallah! the royal jelly is a
protein rich milky liquid.
The queen leaves the hive for a few days.At first , she leaves only for a
minute and gradually leaves for fifteen minutes, during these flights , she
learns about the surroundings of the hive and it is on one of these flights
that she mates with a drone which can be from another hive, she retains
the sperm from mating in her sperm sac fertilising eggs as required.The
queen usually mates only once in her lifetime ,when the store of sperms
gets over , she still continues to lay eggs!but all the eggs will be
unfertilized and they would become drones.

The drones are the male honeybees ,they have a very short life span,they
live for only four or five weeks,they dont do any work inside the hive!
unlike males in humans who have so much of responsibility,what a boring

.They dont even feed on

their own, the worker bees feed them,they dont have a
stinger so they can't sting their enemy.they have no
pollen baskets like me , the worker bee.They dont have
wax glands and they cannot screte the royal jelly
yawn.....but the drones are happy and content with how
Allah has made them , they never complain,you see.The
only function of the drone is to mate with the queen
and the sad part is that a drone dies immediately after
mating .During the autumn season, when the conditions
of the hive are poor, we unfortunately have to drive
out all the drones out of the hive because of which
they soon die out of hunger...inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi
1.The queen lays each egg in a different cell of the
2.After 3 days , the egg hatches into a larva
3.The larva grows and sheds its skin about 5 times
4.Eight days after hatching , the bee larva is fully
5.The larva then changes into pupa
life the drones have !but they are happy

6.After 9 days, the pupa changes colour and becomes

an adult
7.When it is about 3 or 4 weeks old the bee can leave
the hive .
Finally, I get to tell you about me, I'm one of the worker bees. when you
usually see bees being very busy,visiting flowers, flying around , one
wonders what kind of a bee it is?is it a male bee or a female bee?
naturally, if the bee is so busy flying , how can anybody look at it carefully
to tell that.Earlier people thought that it must be the male bee which
does all the work but then a scientist named Karl Von frisch in the 20th
century first told about how we bees talked to eachother and then with
the help of advanced cameras, you humans finally confirmed that the bee
who does all the work of the hive is a female worker bee but Allah
subhanawatala already told this back in the 7th century!! when the Quran
was revealed!!, the worker bees are specifically mentioned in the noble
Quran,if u read the above ayat of surah nahl , 16:68,69...Allah mentions
the arabic word "fasluki" which means a female bee!! subhanallah!it is a
clear miracle!!you must tell this to everyone.Allah has created us and that
is why it is he alone who can tell such details about the bees, when no one
could know.
We worker bees are very busy ...let me tell you all our responsibilities...it
is we the worker bees who travel a lot to collect pollen from the
flowers,alhamdulillah, we dont need to carry a bag for that because Allah
has already attatched pollen baskets to our hind legs, we visit different
coloured flowers and suck their nectar,yum yum..and collect its pollen in
our baskets and go back to the hive and feed the babies with the pollen.
our habit of visiting beautiful flowers helps the plants a lot.Can you guess
why? well it is because when we visit different flowers , we tend to carry

pollen from one flower and transfer it to a new flower, thereby cross
pollination takes place which helps in the reproduction of new plants.
Do you what is nectar?it is sucrose mixed with water,yum yum..nectar is
sucked through the proboscis. To make honey,two main things happen.
1.The nectar is mixed with the enzymes found in the stomach and the
following reaction takes place,
2.The second important step is the "EVAPORATION PROCESS"
meaning we bees try to remove as much water as possible from the honey
till it has only 18% moisture,can you guess why we do this?we do this
inorder to make honey a very stable food which doesnt allow the growth
of microbes like bacteria, fungi,molds etc. in it and that is why our honey
doesn't spoil for years!even if you humans dont refrigerate !
alhamdulillah! Allah has given a great favour to us and you.
We worker bees are responsible for feeding everyone in the hive , the
baby bees, the queen as well as the drones.The royal jelly is secreted
from the glands in our heads and is fed to all the bee larvae,however ,
after three days the worker bee and the drone larvae are no longer fed
by the royal jelly, whereas the queen larvae are continued to be fed on
royal jelly throughout their development.
Brood cells or the baby cells have to be cleaned perfectly before allowing
a new baby bee to occupy it.That is quite a nervous feeling , you see
because the queen mother , herself comes to inspect our job and if we
miss a spot then we will have to do it all over again!!
the wax bees build the honey comb cells from wax,four sets of wax glands
are situated on their abdomen by which they secrete wax to build cells.
The worker bees take wax from the wax producing workers and build the
honeycomb with accurate measurements and skill.

after the honey undergoes maximum evaporation , it is then sealed tightly

with wax to avoid moisture.
Pollen is used for feeding the brood and is also stored,it is tightly packed
in the comb cells,a little honey is added to it which helps in preservation.
The walls of the hive are covered with propolis.It is a resinous substance
obtained from plants.It has the feature of not allowing bacteria into
it.Thus propolis is applied to the hive's walls as well as to the foreign
objects of the hive.
When the hive is in danger of overheating ,the worker bees obtain water
from outside and apply it to the backs of those workers who fan the bee
hive to keep it cool.we even direct the airflow into the hive or out of the
hive depending on the need.
Dead bees and failed larvae are removed out of the hive to prevent
disease and allow cells to be used again.They will be carried away from
the hive.It is not an easy task , reminds me of our final destination which
is to meet Allah and give our accounts for all the favours he has done for
This is the fun part,it is wonderful to fly around the beautiful plants that
Allah made.We bees are excellent in travelling as we hardly lose our
way.We use the sun as a compass to know where we are
going.alhamdulillah, we can calculate the exact distance of the flowers
from the hive and even tell that to our fellow bees.Can you guess what
happens when it rains and the sun hides behind the clouds...guess what?we
still know where exactly the sun is and with the help of landmarks , we
reach back the hive alhamdulillah.Had Allah not given us such perception,
our lives would have been so difficult.I should pray tahajjud to thank
Allah for his favours on us.

you will be surprised to know that unlike humans who use their tongue to
communicate,we use our entire body.Yes! we actually dance to
communicate,all this has been inspired by Allah to us.
when we return to the hive and want to tell our fellow bees about which
flowers they can visit, we begin our dance and they understand what we
want to tell them just by observing our dance..we do repeated movements
and our dance is like drawing the figure 8 and we wag our tails and
perform zigzags,the angle between the zigzags and the line between the
sun and the hive gives the exact location of the food source.We also
explain to our fellow bees about how far they have to travel and we tell
this by wagging the bottom part of our bodies and crating air currents!
For example, in order to describe a distance of 250m, we wag the bottom
part of our bodies , 5 times in half a minute, this way we convey the exact
distance and even the orientation of food source.May Allah reward us for
our efforts..I help my fellow bees for Allah's sake.All these details about
us have been known very recently in the 19th century when Karl von
frisch, the famous scientist won the nobel prize for discovering the bee
communication.Whereas, Allah subhanawatala mentioned about the great
skill of us bees, back in the 7th century when no man could have known
about this as he lacked the technology required for knowing it.he study of
bees is known as apiology.
would you like to be an apiologists and do more research on us?
you will be surprised to know how carefully we save time.When a flower is
already visited by a bee , another new bee can go close to the flower and
know immediately that its nectar has been taken so there is no need to
visit it . can you guess how the bee came to know this?...well, after visiting
a flower, the worker bee leaves a scent on it and that makes other bees
know that the flower has already been visited thus bees don't waste time
on the same flower.
As Allah said in surah nahl (16:68,69)that it is he who has taught the bees
to build cells...you will be amazed to know about this great skill that Allah
has inspired us with.We bees construct hives in which 30,000 bees can

live and work together by shaping small portions of beeswax.The hive is

made up of beeswax walled honeycombs having many cells.All the
honeycomb cells are exactly the same size!each and every cell of the
exact same size!subhanallah! we are so many in number but Allah has
inspired us to build so perfectly.This engineering miracle is the collective
work of thousands of bees.
We bees have been using this hexagonal shape to build cells, since millions
of years.Mathematicians will tell you that the hexagonal structure is the
most suitable geometric form for the maximum use of unit area.If any
other structure was used then there would have been less storage of
honey and fewer bees get space, however as long as the depths are the
same , a triangular or quadrangular cell would hold the same amount of
honey.Among all these geometrical shapes , the hexagon has the shortest
circumference. Whilst they have the same volume.The amount of wax
needed to build the hexagon is lesser than the other two shapes.Thus,
hexagonal cells require minimum amount of wax in terms of construction
while they store maximum amount of honey!!we bees have not calculated
all of this,even you humans came to know this after many complex
geometrical calculations. we have just been inspired and taught by Allah
to perform our many tasks.The hexagonal design of cells is practical in
many respects. Cells fit to one another and they share each other's walls.
This, again, ensures maximum storage with minimum wax. Although the
walls of the cells are rather thin, they are strong enough to carry a few
times their own weight.
As well as in the walls of the sides of the cells, bees also take the
maximum saving principle into consideration while they construct the
bottom edges.
Combs are built as a slice with two rows lying back to back. In this case,
the problem of the junction point of two cells occurs. Constructing the
bottom surfaces of cells by combining three equilateral quadrangles
solves this problem. When three cells are built on one face of the comb,

the bottom surface of one cell on the other face is automatically

As the bottom surface is composed of equilateral quadrangular wax
plaques, a downward deepening is observed at the bottom of those cells
made by this method. This means an increase in the volume of the cell
and, thus, in the amount of honey stored.
we bees raise the cells of the combs to 13 degrees on both sides, by doing
this the combs are not parallel to the ground, because of which the honey
cannot leak out from the mouth of the cell.while working, we,worker bees
hang onto each other in circles and congregate together in bunches. By
doing this, we provide the necessary temperature for wax production.
Little sacks in our abdomens produce a transparent liquid, which leaks out
and hardens the thin wax layers. we collect the wax with the little hooks
on our legs. We put this wax into our mouths, and chew and process it
until it softens enough and thus, give it shape in the cells. We work
together to keep the required temperature for the work place and the
wax soft and malleable.
There is another interesting point to note: the construction of the
honeycomb starts from the upper side of the hive and continues
simultaneously in two or three separate rows downward. While a
honeycomb slice expands in two opposite ections, first the bottom of its
two rows join. This process is realized in an astonishing harmony and
order. Therefore, it is never possible to understand that the honeycomb
actually consists of three separate parts. The honeycomb slices, which
started simultaneously from different ections, are so perfectly arranged
that, although there are hundreds of different angles in its structure, it
seems like one uniform piece.
For such a construction,we bees need to calculate the distances between
the starting and connection points in advance and then design the

dimensions of the cells accordingly. Scientists have always wondered at

our perfection in carrying out correct calculations and engineering .Well
the answer is in the above ayah of surah nahl,(16:68,69). It is Allah who
has taught us all this!!
this is a task which even humans can hardly manage. There is such a
delicate and detailed organization involved that it is impossible for them
to carry it out on their own.
So how did we achieve this? An evolutionist would explain that this event
has been achieved by "instinct". However, what is the "instinct" that can
address thousands of bees at the same time and make them perform a
collective task? It would not be sufficient even if each bee acted on its
own "instinct", since what they do would necessarily have to be in
concordance with each others instincts in order to achieve this
astonishing result. Due to this, they must be ected by an "instinct" coming
from a unique source. Bees, who start constructing the hive from
different corners and then combine their separate tasks without leaving
any gaps and having all the cells constructed equally in a perfect
hexagonal structure, must certainly be receiving "instinctive" messages
from the very same source!..meaning Allah has taught us to build our

magnificent empire!

(68. And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: "Take you habitations in the mountains
and in the trees and in what they (humans) erect.'') (69. "Then, eat of all fruits, and
follow the routes that your Lord made easy (for you).'' There comes forth from their
bellies, a drink of varying colors, in which there is a cure for men . There is

indeed a sign in that for people who reflect.)

Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by us, the honeybees which
we make from the nectar of flowers. "The definition of honey stipulates

a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other
substance. This includes, but is not limited to, water or other
sweeteners," according to the United States National Honey Board 2003
and other nations' food regulations. Honey is significantly sweeter than
table sugar and has attractive chemical properties for baking. Honey has
a distinctive flavor which leads some people to prefer it over sugar and
other sweeteners.Do you know how important a food source the honey is,
which Allah offers man by means of a tiny insect?
Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like
magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and
phosphate. It contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 all of which
change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen. Besides the
above, copper, iodine, and zinc exist in it in small quantities. Several kinds
of hormones are also present in it.

From their bellies comes a drink of

varying colours, containing healing for
mankind (Surat an-Nahl: 69)
We have made them (livestock) tame for
them and some they ride and some they
eat. And they have other uses in them
and milk to drink. So will they not show
thanks? (Surah Yasin: 72-73)
As Allah says in the Quran, honey is a "healing for men". This scientific
fact was confirmed by scientists who assembled during the World
Apiculture Conference held from 20-26 September 1993 in China. During
the conference, treatments with honey derivatives were discussed.
American scientists in particular said that honey, royal jelly, pollen and
propolis (bee resin) cure many diseases. A Romanian doctor stated that he
tried honey on cataract patients, and 2002 out of his 2094 patients
recovered completely. Polish doctors also informed the conference that

bee resin helps to cure many diseases such as hemorrhoids, skin problems,
gynecological diseases and many other disorders.
Nowadays, apiculture and bee products have opened a new branch for
research in countries advanced in science. Other benefits of honey may
be described as below:
Easily digested: Because sugar molecules in honey can convert into other
sugars (e.g. fructose to glucose), honey is easily digested by the most
sensitive stomachs, despite its high acid content. It helps kidneys and
intestines to function better.
Has a low calorie level: Another quality of honey is that, when it is
compared with the same amount of sugar, it gives 40% less calories to the
body. Although it gives great energy to the body, it does not add weight.
Rapidly diffuses through the blood: When accompanied by mild water,
honey diffuses into the bloodstream in 7 minutes. Its free sugar
molecules make the brain function better since the brain is the largest
consumer of sugar.
Supports blood formation: Honey provides an important part of the
energy needed by the body for blood formation. In addition, it helps in
cleansing the blood. It has some positive effects in regulating and
facilitating blood circulation. It also functions as a protection against
capillary problems and arteriosclerosis.
Does not accommodate bacteria: This bactericide (bacteria-killing)
property of honey is named "the inhibition effect". Experiments
conducted on honey show that its bactericide properties increase twofold
when diluted with water. It is very interesting to note that newly born
bees in the colony are nourished with diluted honey by the bees
responsible for their supervision - as if they know this feature of the

Royal Jelly: Royal jelly is a substance produced by worker bees inside the
beehive. Inside this nutritious substance are sugar, proteins, fats and
many vitamins. It is used in problems caused by tissue deficiency or body
It is obvious that honey, which is produced in much higher amounts than
the requirements of the bees, is made for the benefit of man. And it is
also obvious that we, bees cannot perform such an unbelievable task "on
our own."
"whack"!! "dump"!! tuck!innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun!what was that
noise??Oh! I can see some children throwing stones at our hive!Oh! they
must go!ya Allah!otherwise my colony might get threatened and might
attack the boys
a bad encounter with an angry swarm of interrupted or threatened bees
can be deadly.

It is important to remember that we bees are not out to attack people.

We generally just buzz on by while foraging for pollen. We do not mind
being in close proximity to humans as long as they are not bothered.
To avoid getting attacked by us bees, one should never swat or threaten a
bee. The reason for some swarm of bee attacks are due to the release of
a pheromone a threatened bee will emit. This pheromone sends a distress
signal to all other bees in the area, and will attract the whole swarm to
come in and defend them.
For this reason, beekeepers must be extremely careful when handling the
honey harvests. If they accidentally crush or kill a bee, they risk being
attacked by the whole hive. No amount of protective clothing can save a
person from a whole swarm of thousands of bees intent on self-defense!
Also for this reason, beekeepers use smoke. This masks the scent of the
pheromones a threatened bee might release and reduces the chances of

swarm attacks. Also, the smoke signals for the bees to prepare for the
chance of a fire and keeps them preoccupied with gorging on honey. This
is done in case the hive must be moved to avoid destruction. Rather than
be alarmed at the beekeepers presence, the smoke makes the working
bees busy with the "saving" of their efforts.
The most common reason a swarm of bees attack would be if their hive is
threatened. Under no circumstances should anyone who is not a
professional come close to a bee hive. A whole swarm of defensive bees
may attack if their home feels threatened. All the bees in a hive answer
to their queen, and since she lives in the hive, a swarm will attack anyone
who comes too close for comfort.
The bottom line and best advice to avoid a swarm of bees attack is to
never make a bee feel threatened. Bees attack in swarms because they
are a loyal team with one goal, and that is to make the queen happy.
how do we sting?OH! its very painful, may ALLAH Protect you from it,you
see when we get threatened , we are supposed to defend,however our
stings are mean!when we sting an enemy, we latch on to the skin and
sting , not just once but many times!and our stings are like double razers
attatched together with an injection in between...I think you are getting
an idea about the pain.With each sting we release a toxin into the skin
which causes excrutiating pain to the victim. Oh! Alhamdulillah! those
kids are leaving...never throw stones like them you see,for a swarm of
bees can kill a human being.
If you find yourself in close proximity to a bee, walk away without
disturbing it to avoid a sting. If you find that there are a lot of bees in an
area, you might be close to a bee hive. It is strongly recommended you
abandon the area. Also, if a hive is formed in your home, call a
professional bee remover to take the bees away without harming
them.We Bees are a valuable asset to the planets ecosystem. We help the
plants pollinate and keep nature in balance.

now it's time to say goodbye, I'm sure you have enjoyed the journey with
me and have really pondered over us, as Allah wanted you to.as he says in
surah jathiya (45:12)

.And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on
the earth - all from Him. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give